Andalusia, spirited and passionate Mediterranean melting pot
Andalucía is the southernmost territory of Spain and the part of the Iberian peninsula that is most quintessentially Spanish. The famous image of Spain as a land of bullfights, flamenco, sherry and ruined castles derives from this spectacularly beautiful region. Andalucia, Betis, Al-Andalus, different words for the same timeless landscapes, portions of land fed by those who arrived, and by those who left.
It is in this forgotten corner of Spain where the invisible walls of civilizations are found, washing over all Andalucia since the first prehistorical paintings were carved on the walls over 30,000 years ago. Seville, Cordoba, and Granada, with its narrow streets that lead us to architectural wonders and unique places, traces of the civilizations that one day inhabited this bank of the river Guadalquivir. From Phoenicians to Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Vandals, they all came and left their mark. And above them all, the most influential invaders of all, the Moors, who ruled the region for seven centuries and named it Al-Andalus, have left an enduring imprint on Andalucian culture and customs.
Forged on love and war, Seville equally disarms and seduces you.
DOORWAY TO THE PAST
Roman ruins testify the settlement’s earliest face, memories of the Moorish era flicker like medieval engravings in the Santa Cruz quarter, while the riverside Arenal reeks of lost colonial glory. The Old Town, which was also founded on the ruins of the ancient Jewish Quarter, is an intoxicating live air museum, where narrow alleys transport you to Seville's most crucial period, the 14th century when the city was the most important in Castile. Seville most significant achievement came in 1492 with Cristobal Columbus discovery of the Americas in 1492. His tomb is located inside the impressive the Cathedral which was built during that time, and is considered the largest christian gothic cathedral in the world. Adjacent to the Cathedral, and in the beautiful squares which surround the whole nearby area, there is the Giralda and Patio de los Naranjos, both of them with moorish roots, Archivo de Indias, Royal Alcazar, Torre del Oro... only to name a few. The cultural legacy of Seville is almost endless, no wonder its Old Town is the largest in Spain.
A land of a thousand castles. Elegant yet edgy, grandiose but gritty, monumental but marked by world famous graffitis.
THE ALLURE OF THE ALHAMBRA
Granada, dominated by the Spanish peninsula’s highest mountains, the snowcapped Mulhacén and Veleta peaks of the Sierra Nevada. The city is not only the highlight of its province but one of the great destinations of Spain, as the home of Andalucía’s most precious monument, the exquisite Moorish Alhambra palace and gardens.The city preserves, too, the old Moorish quarter of Albaicín and gypsy barrio of Sacromonte – places filled with the sensual atmosphere of Flamenco, and with the rich islamic legacy of the last outpost of Muslim Spain. No less significant is the Christian legacy, with the magnificent Capilla Real, which hosts the Tombs of Fernando and Isabel, Los Reyes Católicos. Another of the greatest architectural wonders from the Catholic Kings is the 16th century Monasterio de San Jerónimo, located in the outskirts of the Old Town, an old Monastery still occupied by monks and nuns, a unique spiritual building which strikes visitors with the colorful contrast between the stained glass and the interior surface all covered by frescoes.
A world apart from the adjoining and much more soulless Costa del Sol. The city is packed with history and resonates with a youthful vigour that proudly acknowledges its rich legacy.
A CITY IN REINVENTION
The smallest of Andalucía’s eight provinces, Málaga is also its most populous, swelling to bursting point with the sheer weight of visitors in high summer. Although primarily known as the gateway to the Costa del Sol and its unashamedly commercial resorts such as Torremolinos and Marbella, the province has much more to offer than just its coastline.
The city that gave birth to Picasso has transformed itself in a unique way during the last decade, being considered by many experts as the new cultural hubspot in southern Spain, featuring over six new art galleries, a radically transformed port area, and a uprising art district.
A favourite for both bandits and romantics. Ronda has a colourful and romantic past in Spanish folklore which has made it an attractive hideaway for all sorts of bandits, and also, to a colorful array of world known artists, such as Ernest Hemingway, Alexandre Dumas, and Orson Welles.
WHITE TOWNS MECCA
In the west of Málaga’s provincial heartland lies the Serranía de Ronda, a series of small mountain ranges sprinkled with gleaming, whitewashed Pueblos Blancos (White Towns), of which Ronda, located astride the stunningly beautiful El Tajo gorge, stands on an enormous outcrop of rock. The centre of town is split by a Bridge built in the 18th century. Wander across the bridge and you are in La Ciudad (old town) inhabited in old days by groups of marauding bandits. Ronda was established in the 9th century BC and features multiples attractions considering its small size. Some of the highlights are the stated Old Town, which largely dates to Islamic times, the town’s impressive Cathedral, the Bullring, San Juan Bosco House and the Mondragón Palace.